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Maybe It’s Time To Bring Some Services Back To The District

The Jamestown Public Schools District has sent students to the Gustavus Adolphus Family Services Learning Center at a cost of $586,624 in 2019-20.

Is it possible the district has actually been wasting money all these years?

Earlier this week, the Jamestown school board voted to create nine new positions — one principal, one school psychologist, one home-school liaison, two special education teachers and four paraprofessionals — to offer 16 students who had previously been attending the GA Family Services Learning Center with a Special Education Personalized Learning Program where school officials will utilize a blended learning curriculum through Edgenuity. School officials determined that the returning students needed a therapeutic program, a small environment and a personalized curriculum.

The cost to hire all those new positions — $476,450.

It turns out hiring new staff and creating a new program will result in a cost savings to the district of about $110,000 a year. It makes us wonder what other services the district has been subcontracting out over the years that perhaps should be brought back under the district’s purview. Dr. Bret Apthorpe, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent, made a good point this week when he noted personal learning programs “can provide a best practice model and these kids don’t have to go across the county. They can stay in their home city and the math just worked out in our favor.”

Perhaps there are other best practice models out there that can serve children well without children spending time on a bus while saving the school district money. It’s not a bad question for school board members to be asking about other contracted services as budget deliberations begin.

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